What should I do if I get injured in a boating accident in Florida?
There are many reasons why boating accident occur and therefore many boating laws that cover boating accidents. Intoxication, unsafe boating practices, maintenance problem, lack of safety equipment - all can cause a boating accident. In a negotiation or in court you will need to prove who is responsible for the accident.
Determine why the boating accident happened
Determine who cause the boating accident
Generally the person operating the boat will be a liable party in the accident, but a good boat accident attorney will look at the "why" and determine if others are liable too. For instance, if a mechanical failure caused the accident, perhaps the manufacturer or service provider of the boat can be held liable as well.
Since Florida is the state with the most boating accidents each year, there are a considerable amount of laws regulating the use of boats. Florida, however, does not require a boat operator license. Here are some rules that Florida does impose:
- You must be at least 14 years old to be certified to operate a personal water craft.
- Everyone aboard a personal water craft must wear an approved flotation device.
- Florida boat operators who are 21 years of age and younger must take a mandatory boating safety education course for motorized vessels of 10 horsepower or more.
- Children under six years old must wear an approved personal flotation device on any vessel under 26 feet long.
- Boating while intoxicated is illegal in Florida. The blood alcohol level for adults age 21 and older is .08% and for everyone under age 21 the BAC is .02%.
What are the Boating laws in Florida?
Do I even need a boating accident attorney?
Not every boat accident claim requires the use of an attorney. Claims that involve only personal property damage can probably be settled on your own. However, it doesn't hurt to consult with an attorney. You need to protect yourself in case injuries manifest later. We offer free boat accident consultations and we'll help you find the right attorney even if we can't take your case.
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If An Injury Does Not Manifest Until Later, What Are My Options for Filing a Claim?
A common occurrence is when a victim of an boating accident has seemingly minor injuries and they can feel fine after the accident. Instead of taking the ambulance to the hospital, they get a ride home. Later on, however, the pain manifests. It could be that night, or days later.
Once the adrenaline from the accident wears off and your body starts to feel pain, you might realize you have a claim for accident damages in Florida. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as pain manifests if you haven't already been treated.
When seeking medical attention, it is important to tell your doctor that you have been injured in an auto accident and that the accident is listed as a cause of the pain. Medical providers and insurance companies use specific coding when treating injuries and auto accident victims tend to receive similar types of care.
So if you have sustained a back injury, neck injury, or other type of injury in an auto accident, it is important that the physician notes that in your medical records.
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